egardless of your comings or goings, we want you to arrive home safely after the last few long weekends away with the family before the cold really sets in. Nothing quite ruins your holiday like a confiscated trailer or caravan and an eyewatering fine from the coppers for faulty brake lights and indicators. What’s worse than abandoning your trailer or camper on the side of the road due to seized wheel bearings? You can rest assured that the missus won’t be happy either! Talking to several trailer manufacturers and importers, it’s come to our attention that most consumers take towing for granted. Proper preparation is usually left to lastminute.com, but it is ultimately your key to a successful weekend away. An unprepared trailer opens you up to all sorts of risks and makes you vulnerable as a road user. When it comes to prepping your trailer, it’s imperative that you make sure everything is 100 per cent and in tip-top working order. Our tech editor, Ian Theron, who is known for saying: “If it doesn’t fit into the Landy, leave it at home,” has towed many trailers throughout his life (probably when he still owned the Jeep). He says that sticking to the basics is a good start to a successful trailer prep. “Checking your tyre pressure and making sure they are in good condition is critical. This includes wheel bearings, wiring and lighting. Then check the actual trailer itself. Things like compatibility and conforming to the appropriate trailer size is also very important,” Ian says. He warns against tow balls sitting too high, or when the weight of the trailer is greater than the towing vehicle. “This means your weight distribution is wrong which will ultimately make you unstable on the road, and lead to all sorts of problems. Rather don’t tow if you can’t tow right.” He adds that most modern cars these days are fitted with electronic systems that recognises the presence of a trailer or caravan and can make significant changes through stability control and how transmission responds. “Which is why it is important to remember that when you install an aftermarket tow bar, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the wiring is done by expertse or approved dealers,”dealers ” he concludes.conclu Here are some important aspects of checking your tow vehicle before leaving on your next weekend away: • Slow down and find a speed that feels right – don’t rush to your destination. There’s no maximum towing speed in South Africa. • Make sure your license papers and towing documents are in order. You need an EB license to tow a gross combination mass (combines tare weight of tow vehicle and trailer/caravan/camper) not exceeding 3 500 kg. • The GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of your trailer/camper/caravan may not exceed the tare weight of the towing vehicle.
• Regularly check your tyre pressure. • When the trailer/camper is hitched, make sure it’s level with the car (or better yet, slightly nose down). • The weight ‘at the ball’ should never exceed 100 kg. Proper weight distribution is important here. • Adjust headlights to take the trailer into account.